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12 December 2010 — DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme Helps Litigants in Need

12 December 2010 — DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme Helps Litigants in Need

December 12, 2010

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Second Pro Bono representation underway with Kilpatrick Stockton-LLP’s participation

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 December 2010: The DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system have placed a second pro bono litigant with a volunteer law firm, this time to be represented by lawyers from Kilpatrick Stockton LLP.

The case has recently been lodged regarding an individual who is allegedly owed eight month’s salary and numerous other amounts.

Launched a year ago, in October 2009, the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme remains novel in the Middle East. Over the past year, the programme has witnessed strong support from the legal community in the UAE, as the DIFC Courts continue to promote public interest and allow litigants access to justice despite possible financial constraints.

Amna Al Owais, Deputy Registrar and Pro Bono Programme Leader at DIFC Courts said: “We are pleased that this individual has been able to pursue his case as a result of the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme. Over the past year, the legal community both inside and outside of the DIFC has embraced the scheme. We have been encouraged by case applications made to date, applications have been regular and feedback on the system has been extremely positive. Such strong participation from the legal services community is unprecedented in the region and is testament to the value of such a scheme. The Programme reflects DIFC Courts’ mission of providing timely, fair, clear and accessible justice to all, and is another fine example of the DIFC legal community giving something back.”

To date more than twenty leading law firms have registered their voluntary services with the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme, namely: Al Tamimi, Clyde & Co, Clifford Chance, Norton Rose, DLA Piper, Chadbourne & Parke LLC, Herbert Smith LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Lovells (Middle East) LLP, Hadef & Partners, Freshfields Bruckhaus & Deringer LLP, Al Roken and Bin Eid, Afridi & Angell, Dewey & LeBouef, Latham & Watkins LLP, JSA Law, Kennedys and Busit Advocates & Legal Consultants and Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, who are representing the claimant in the second pro bono case before the DIFC Courts’.

The DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme enables individuals who cannot afford a lawyer the opportunity to seek free advice from lawyers participating in the scheme. Services offered as part of the programme, ranging from basic advice to full case management and representation in proceedings, are accessible to eligible individuals, approved by the DIFC Courts’ Registry office. Individuals who meet the eligibility criteria are assigned legal representation, selected from a register of volunteer lawyers.

Alec Emmerson of Clyde & Co. and Member of the DIFC Courts’ Court Users Committee said: “The Pro Bono Programme is an excellent development that ensures that individuals who cannot afford a lawyer have access to advice and representation in the DIFC Courts. This type of community based effort led by the DIFC Courts has been well received by law firms and provides individuals much needed support and access to world class justice. I am sure the Programme will soon be replicated across the region and feel that this is a great example to all.”

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